As we’re all stuck at home for the moment, I thought it would be nice to take some virtual tours of lovely places. It might lift our spirits momentarily, and give you some ideas of new places to visit when we are free to wander once more. Today I am sharing one of my favourite places – Butser Ancient Farm. Have you been? Let me know in the comments!
One of the places we visit several times each year (and we would already have been this year, if Lockdown hadn’t intervened) is Butser Ancient Farm. Tucked away down a rather rugged farm track (take it slowly!) in Hampshire, it offers the opportunity to step out of the car park into the Stone Age.
Butser is an experimental archaeology site, with reconstructed buildings from the Stone Age, Iron Age, Roman and Anglo-Saxon Britain. You may have seen them already if you’ve watched the Horrible Histories: Rotten Romans film! You can wander in and out of all the buildings, spend time around the fire in a roundhouse, and say hello to rare breeds of sheep and goats. At this time of year they have lambs and kids, and I am really missing them. Gardeners and botanists will also spot many useful plants around the site, with some prehistoric crops.
The site hosts a variety of special events and courses. There are revelries timed to coincide with the major Pagan festivals. Ryan and I have made a stone age meal there, and Mesolithic spears (which are in the hall closest – where else would we keep them?), and Ryan cast a bronze dagger that he has yet to make a hilt for.
What I love most about Buster is the atmosphere. If you are able to visit during the week then it’s usually pretty quiet. There’s very little traffic noise, and you’re surrounded by green fields and trees and bleating sheep and goats. It’s a perfect place for some nature therapy! It has a gift shop and a little cafe that serves drinks and ice creams, but it’s worth packing a picnic if you’re going to want some lunch.
Over the winter, Butser is only open to the public during the week. From Easter it’s normally open at the weekend as well, but for the time being it’s completely closed because of the Lockdown. It has lost its income from school visits, tourists and special events alike and is really struggling to stay afloat. So if you’re a fan of the Stone Age, or cute farm animals, then please consider making a donation so that we can all visit again when this is over. We have signed up to be Friends of Butser, which costs £20 per person (£30 for a couple, £15 concessions), which gives us free entry for a year.[When you do visit Butser, I hearily recommend buying a bag of animal feed from the gift shop. The sheep and goats go nuts for it, and feeding them is a complete riot!]